Saturday, June 12, 2010

Working 9 to 5

What a way to make a livin’,
Barely gettin’ by ,
It's all takin’
And no givin’.
They just use your mind,
And they never give you credit.
It’s enough to drive you crazy if you let it.

For most people working is a fact of life. On average I probably spend about 6 hours sleeping, 1.5 hours traveling, 8.5 hours at work, 1 hour doing chores, 4 hours watching TV/recreation/socializing, about 2 hours taking care of personal needs, and about 1 hour caring for family members or pets. My time was distributed a bit differently when the kids were home. Now we are ‘empty nesters’ this is an average day. If I take the time I spend at work and the time it takes me to get there and back, I’ve given 42% of my day to work.

I read somewhere the average American who works spends about 100,000 hours at work in their lifetime. If you start working when you are 22, after college graduation, and retire when you are 67, you will have about 45 years of full time work. That would make about 93,600 hours. If you worked part time, during college or before you found your full time occupation add about 4,160 hours. Together that adds up to 97,760 hours.

So you’ve been at work 97,760 hours. You sleep 8 hours a day, (which is an exaggeration but the suggested normal amount), 195,640 hours. Let’s say you live to be 75, which is about the average life expectancy today. Take your living hours, 657,000, and subtract the hours at work and the hours you sleep, and there are 363,000 hours left for anything else you do.

What does that say? We’ve spent approximately 15% of our life at work. And for what? Granted, you have to work to live, unless you’ve found some splendid way to swindle the government into providing for you. Money is needed to live. You have to buy food and provide shelter. There has to be a little fun thrown in, to protect your sanity, and fun costs money. So we do it.

What’s the reward for working all this time? That’s what I’m having a hard time deciding. I’m in the field of education which is certainly not what you want to go into to become rich. I’ve been told repeatedly it’s the intrinsic value that makes careers in education worthwhile. I understand already.

I like what I do. I worked with kids and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’d like to think that maybe I made a difference to some of them. Now I work with teachers and administrators. I still enjoy what I do but I’m not sure it’s important anymore. At least not to the people I work with. Granted, if there’s a problem or a deadline, etc., then I am very important because they need what I have to offer. But in the everyday scheme of things what I do is often shoved aside.

I work with Career and Technical Education or CTE in Texas education lingo. The ‘and’ is not supposed to be spoken when we say what I do. In the old days it was called Career and Technology Education or CATE. You did say the ‘and’ when you spoke the words. Sadly, even the teachers in CTE still call it by the old name. I think this is part of the problem. They are stuck in a time warp. The class names have changed and even the content of the classes has changed. But they haven’t.

There is a negative connotation when people think of career classes. Those are the classes for kids who are not college bound. Who says they are not college bound? A two year degree is college. Post secondary training may not be college but it is education. So why is a CTE class for ‘those’ kids?

First, think about what CTE is. CTE classes and programs teach high demand skills needed to get a job, a new career. CTE classes teach cross-training for different positions. CTE is designed to prepare high school students to transition successfully to postsecondary education and to help college students acquire the skills and knowledge needed to find gainful employment. But because it is not a CORE area of math, science, English or social studies, it is deemed unimportant.

Think of someone in a notable or prestigious position. How about a lawyer? Criminal Justice is a CTE class. What about an accountant? Accounting and finance are both CTE classes. Consider a doctor. Health Science classes are CTE classes. Unquestionably, all of these careers take a well rounded education, including extensive study in science, math and English, possibly even social studies. But their foundation begins in CTE.

Even jobs that are considered blue collar jobs need people who are trained and educated in their chosen field. Would you want a hairdresser putting chemicals on your hair when they didn’t have the training needed to do so? What about the airplane mechanic working on the engine of the plane you are going to fly in? Don’t you want these people to have had some post secondary training and be certified or licensed in the area they are practicing? I certainly do.

I suppose you can tell by now this is a pet peeve of mine. But the point is I’m tired of being treated as a second class citizen because I’m not in a CORE area, an area that doesn’t have a test attached to it in the Texas state education system. Do I want a test attached? No. The tests are…well, that could be another post sometime. Anyway, I’m tired of being shoved aside because what I do isn’t deemed important in the education system. I’m tired of working and not getting credit. I’m tired of being held back because I probably don’t know as much because I work with CTE. And you know CTE is/was for those kids. I’m just tired I guess.

By the time I retire I’ll have spent 15% of my life in a field where people think they are more important than others because they teach math, science, English or social studies. Where, if you don’t teach in one of those areas, you probably don’t know much. Where, because your content area isn’t on the ‘test’, it’s not important. They don’t even know how wrong they are.

Before you downplay the value of CTE classes, have you had to pay a plumber lately? And licenses and certifications are important. Just ask Joe the Plumber.

Off the soapbox and on to the knitayear project that is progressing. Day 69 wasn’t such a good day. I’m just fed up with different stories from people, from the attitudes and personalities I have to spend 42% of my days with and just in general. I looked for an ugly yarn. I don’t buy a lot of ugly yarn. What’s the point? But I finally came up with variegated orange and black. If you want a Halloween something or other it’s the perfect yarn, or maybe something in school colors. Maybe that’s what I was thinking. Otherwise? It’s ugly. I don’t know why I got it but embarrassingly enough I have more than one skein! It seemed to fit my fed up mood today. Day 70 is here, June 9, and only Wednesday. I’ve heard more stories, more excuses. I think it’s best to work and not talk to anyone! And not listen either. I have some eyelash yarn, not so ugly when it was in but not so great now. It’s gray, black and white and was fitting for a disgusted mood. Day 71 is a disappointing day. Thinking about a conversation held yesterday and thinking how true to character it is for the originator. Disappointing but what else is there to expect from someone who has proved themselves untrustworthy time after time. I found a scratchy wool yarn for this day. The color is pretty, orangeish, if that can be a word. I used it in a felted project and it was fine. But if it was a sweater I think you would be disappointed because it wouldn’t feel good against your skin at all. It’s misleading, because the yarn is pretty but it doesn’t feel good. It’s much like the person at work, saying one thing, changing it to mean something different. And before you think I’m the most negative grouchy person in the world, day 72 brought some relief. I got to stay home today. It was a welcome break. I even had something to look forward to in the afternoon. There was a barbeque for the recent successful interns in the teaching program. It was a lot of fun. I needed it. I chose a bright variegated cotton yarn. It’s fun and looks cheerful. Saturday, day 73, is a good day. It’s a good thing! I’m ready! Another barbeque tonight, probably the extent of our summer social activity! I found a purple variegated yarn, another eyelash yarn. I read that purple is a color that means transformation. I was in a neutral kind of mood today. Not good, not bad. The wind is blowing, as always and the purple ‘eyelashes’ remind me of blowing wind. It’s a pretty color. It will all be okay.

9 to 5, for service and devotion
You would think that I would deserve a fair promotion.
Want to move ahead but the boss won’t seem to let me.
I swear sometimes that man is out to get me…

No comments:

Post a Comment